ST. LOUIS, Mo. - Imagine a 6-foot-6, 305-pound individual jumping on the bed.
Wallace has a top five of Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State.
That was St. Louis (Mo.) Christian Brothers College four-star offensive tackle Brian Wallace earlier this month when he found out he was selected to play in this year’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl.
“When I first found out, I got a text message and I looked at it and my eyes widened,” Wallace reflected on the moment. He heads into the season with a top five of Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and Ohio State. “I was excited.
“After that I told my dad and my dad was like, we just stood there in silence for a moment.”
Ranked by the 247Composite as the nation’s No. 16 offensive tackle, Wallace will join the nation’s best high school football players in San Antonio, Texas for the 14th annual U.S. Army All-American Bowl, set to be played inside the Alamo Dome on NBC on Jan. 4. Over 40,000 fans attended last year’s game.
“I have to show out not only for myself and for my family, but for my school and my team and my city,” Wallace said, adding he had an uncle serve in the Korean War and a cousin serve in the Vietnam War. “I’m very honored to play in the game and help get the Army’s message across.”
It’s been a whirlwind for Wallace, who at this time a year ago didn’t hold one scholarship offer as he was just preparing to play in his first varsity game. He spent his first two years of high school football learning the ropes behind a pair of veterans.
Finally on the field in a meaningful game, Wallace quickly began making a name for himself.
“It was actually very exciting,” Wallace remembered. “When I first got on the field I was like I’m a starter now. I just took advantage of it.”
Wallace is currently ranked as the nation's No. 16 offensive tackle by the 247Composite.
Head coach Scott Pingel always thought Wallace would be a prospect. The young man arrived at Christian Brothers College at basically the same size he is now.
“It was kind of like waiting your turn, and when he took over it was pretty nice,” Pingel said.
In helping CBC finish 11-1 last fall, Wallace began owning the trenches from week one and really hit his stride halfway through the season.
“I don’t think you realize until you watch film and then you see and it’s like oh wow this guy is pretty special,” Pingel said. “It was week one last year, we put on the tape and he took this guy and drove him about 15-20 yards down the field. For Brian that was good. For us it was good. Then it set our expectations a little higher.”
Missouri was first to offer three weeks into the season.
“I didn’t expect any of this to happen,” Wallace said. “I was first playing like I was like I’m playing a game and I was going hard. Then everything started to unfold. We called Missouri up and all of a sudden they told me they offered me a scholarship. That was probably one of the happiest moments of my life. I just thought to myself I can play on Saturdays now. It changed my mindset that now I have to work even harder in the classroom and on the field.”
Before Wallace knew it, he has scholarship offers from his five favorites as well as places like Georgia, Kansas State, Michigan State, Oklahoma and UCLA. College coaches were flocking to the school during the evaluation period.
“I was interrupted every class period,” Pingel said. “Every school you could think of. Every BCS conference you could think of. They’d stop through. If not, they’d call.”
Wallace and his family were recently able to narrow his list of suitors.
Alabama: “The Crimson Tide, I haven’t visited there yet. I’m most likely probably using one as an official because I’m not sure when I’ll be able to make another visit. What excited me about them is all the NFL draft picks they put out. They’ve won back-to-back National Championships. I’ve seen pictures of the facilities and I was impressed with that and I want to see them in person.”
Arkansas: “That was my latest visit (Aug. 9) and it was my first time visiting. I was very impressed with the academics and all the football facilities they have to offer. Both the coaching staff and academic side of the school, they answered questions with me not having to ask for it. I sat down with Coach (Bret) B(ielema) and he told me for every 10 people that want you to succeed there are 20 that want you to fail. That stuck with me after I left and I’ll keep that in mind.”
Iowa: “They’ve been after me just as hard as Arkansas has been after me. With any coach I have contact with, I have a good relationship with and I have a good relationship with them. There I have a chance to play early and start my sophomore or junior year. I’ve been up there a few times and I was very impressed with it. I actually liked the environment and I got to hang out with the players too.”
Nebraska: “For one I was impressed with the academics. You’re going to be impressed with the football facilities wherever you go, but me I was impressed with the academics of all the things they have to offer, as far as the technology and things they have to help you with. When I went up there I actually liked the weight room. The head coach has a good reputation there and I also like the head coach.”
Ohio State: (Wallace visited in July) “Just the environment really. Coach Urban (Meyer), I got to sit down and talk to him. He seems really cool. For one I think it would be a challenge. Coach Meyer was telling me they’re losing four starters on the o-line so there is actually competition to come in and get a starting spot.”
Wallace does not have a timetable for a college decision and plans to use his official visits before announcing. He’d like to see a game at each school if he can.
“I’m still weighing my options,” Wallace said. “I’m impressed with all of them so far. At the end of the day it’s going to be a hard decision for me.”
This season, Pingel is expecting even more dominance from Wallace now that he has a year under his belt.
“He’s had a great offseason. He’s ready to go. He’s one of our captains. He’s a leader. The sky is the limit for him.”